Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Strasburg, Vaughn come from different perspectives

Center fielder Cory Vaughn and Stephen Strasburg were two-year teammates on the San Diego State University baseball team, but the similarities pretty much end there.

Strasburg was selected first overall by the Washington Nationals June 8, 2009. Vaughn, meanwhile, was selected Tuesday by the New York Mets in the fourth round of the 2010 first-year draft.

Strasburg's major-league career began Tuesday night in Washington with a 14-strikeout, zero-
walk victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Strasburg already has signed a four-year, $15-million deal with the Nationals.

Vaughn, like nearly all of the players who sign after being selected during the 50-round draft, soon will begin play in a low-level minor league in his quest to get to the big leagues.

Strasburg clearly is a phenom. However, the predominance of young baseball players will take the long, hard route. Strasburg will receive a great deal of attention, even with the likelihood that he cannot duplicate that sterling debut.

Vaughn has perspective and insight delivered from his father, Greg, who hit 355 home runs in 15 major-league seasons.

Greg Vaughn spent 1986 in Helena, Montana; 1987 in Beloit, Wisconsin; 1988 in El Paso, Texas and parts of 1989 in Denver before being elevated for 38 games late in the season.

The senior Vaughn accompanied his son last week to pre-draft workouts in Arizona, Denver, Milwaukee and Minnesota.

It wasn't always like this in baseball. Scouts would do their due diligence and then selections would be made.

The senior Vaughn said his son now will have an opportunity to play baseball and make money once he becomes a major-leaguer.

"Hopefully," he said, "you show your stuff now and get your money when you get into the majors. That's what makes baseball special."

Vaughn, who played for five teams (Milwaukee, San Diego, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Colorado), believes American baseball players have been hindered by the way they are taught on the way up the ladder.

"As a kid, you are taught how to play one way, how to run, how to hit, how not to hit," Vaughn said. "Those ways you are taught change at every level, high school, AAU, college and then pro ball.

One advantage Hispanic kids have is they are taught to play one way coming up and there is no confusion about how the game is played."

Vaughn said Strasburg has shown a poise and talent level that has him pointed towards stardom.

"He's one of the best competitors you'll find," Vaughn said of the Nationals rookie, "but you can talk to him. He's a quality guy with a great work ethic. Nothing is a big deal to him. He's got a power arm and he wants to be great. And throwing 95-96 miles per hour certainly can help him be great because he's got other pitches he can go to."

Greatness always will receive grandiose media attention, however, there always will be far more players attempting to make their respective ways - step by step - to the majors.

College sports shows not everything must change

All long-time sports fans sit with open mouths as we watch the state of college sports altered as never before.

Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Colorado reportedly are slated to join what was known as the Pacific-10 Conference. Nebraska is headed to the Big 10 and what last week was known as the Big 12 could become a mirage.

And we all know, but rarely hear from powers-that-be, it's about money, network television and TV markets.

Perhaps this is the geographic precursor to what we've always heard out here from earthquake-leery folks about the West Coast. When the Big One hits, the coast will be drastically altered, and there could be an Island division.

The next card to be played likely will come from Notre Dame, which has stood as a high and mighty independent.

Both ironic and disgusting, throughout all of this sports university juggling, is nary a mention of the student-athletes, as the NCAA likes to call them.

Then again, on the same day much of these changes appear legitimate, USC is handed a two-year bowl penalty as well as reduced scholarships among other sanctions for behavior that went against 'the heart of the NCAA's amateurism principles.'

There is no questioning here that Reggie Bush and/or O.J. Mayo may have financially benefited while playing for the Trojans. The point is college football programs are multi-million conglomerates.

Other USC players likely did as well. Ditto for UCLA players, University of Nebraska players, Colorado, you name it. Pick a high-profile university and some players on the basketball and football teams received uhh, upgrades.

That's merely the way of the world. Those who have excesses and acclaim get free dinner, upgraded parking and better seats, just to name a few.

Joey Johnson and Mickey Martin, the postal and garbage workers, have to pay their respective ways.

It says here, the NCAA spent five years going after USC, so don't stop here. Jam up every school for the exact same behavior. Spend those same what likely were millions of dollars to clean up collegiate athletics.

Prevent coaches from moving from school to school and improving their personal financial lots while leaving their recruits high and dry.

Yeah, right, that's going to happen.

As long as schools can make their moves and take in more cheddar, then it's not that unforgivable or unrealistic student-athletes also look to take advantage of their opportunities.

As schools have shown, free money is difficult to turn down.

It still looks like a long NBA Finals

Each of the first three NBA Finals games could have been won by the loser, so it makes little sense to foresee the rest of the series to be any other way.

Both coaches, L.A.'s Phil Jackson and Boston's Doc Rivers, have complained about the officiating. OK, here's another news flash, it'll be hot in Mexico City in August.

Coaches always complain about officiating during series, be it first-round, conference semifinals and conference finals, much less the NBA Finals.

Once the game begins, it always has been about heart. When everything is on the line, the team that gets more of its players performing at a high level will win. The easiest way to perform at a high level offensively is to take the ball to the rack as diligently, relentlessly and strongly as possible.

Only the strongest survives.

Where should LeBron James sign?


  1. Great Finals, for two great teams. Strasburg, will be a Yankee or Red Sox, or even a Mets player one day. All the best for him. I am really getting sick of this Lebron James,signing. If it`s not the Knicks or Nets then he should stay in Cleveland. Cleveland, made the wrong trade. they was suppose to get Amare Stoudemire, by any means necessary and not Jamison. Jamison, is a good player but Amare, takes The Cavs over the top. Besides he was available for the right trade.I am still surprised the way The Lebrons handled themselves when they quit playing during their last game vs. the Celtics. Shameful performance just to quit like that. Shameful. Take care.

  2. Do I detect a slight New York bias to this comment? How will the Yankees, Red Sox and/or Mets get Strasburg? Free-agency, Scoop? I think Amare would have been a better fit. Of course, retrospection is the way to go. The way Jamison punked out, JJ Hickson would have been a better way to go.